12 September 2007

Criminal? Or Overreacting on My Part?

I stopped at the dry cleaner last night on my way home from work. It was about 7:30 and as I'm getting out of my car, I see a woman getting out of her car and talking to her very young children through the window of the car. She is telling them that it's okay. I look and there is a child in a car seat and another that should be in a car seat, sitting next to his little sister. I'm guessing they were a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. The woman is leaving these children alone in the car. I am appalled.

I don't know what to do. If you read my last post, you know I am a bit of a loudmouth. I watch as we wind up in line in the dry cleaners together, me in front of her, while she is periodically craning her neck to look at the car through the cleaner's window.

My thoughts pound one on top of the other and go something like this...
How can she leave her children in the car alone? What is wrong with people?!
Well, it's not sweltering, so they're not in danger of dying of heat stroke. At least people crack windows for pets. She didn't crack a window but then it's not all that hot.
Maybe it's better if the car is all locked up. Does she know how quickly a child can be taken? Of course someone could break in, too. But what are the odds... If she's just in here a minute or two...
It's probably too much hassle to get the children out of the car and take them with her for a 2 minute stop.
Is this abandonment? Even for a few minutes?
Did my parents leave me in the car for a few minutes when they ran errands?
I don't know. Back in the 60s, there were less creeps on the streets.
What do I do?!

I didn't know what was reasonable but I knew I wanted the situation to stop as soon as possible. My head was throbbing.

I got called next to the counter and that's when I decided. I turned to this woman and said "You go ahead of me." She thanked me profusely, got her business done, and left in the span of a minute, thanking me again as she went out the door. Maybe I should have said something. Maybe by helping her do the errand quickly I encouraged her to do this practice again. I dunno.

If not abandonment, was this negligence? Or am I overreacting? Anybody know what the police would say about this?

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